Bite Ninja integrates virtually, disrupts traditional QSR staffing

30 Aug 2021

Memphis-based entrepreneurs Will Clem and Orin Wilson raised $675,000 in pre-seed funding for their startup Bite Ninja in a round led by Y Combinator, AgFunder and Manta Ray. The funds will be used to scale up their technology which allows for ad-hoc virtual staffing in quick service restaurants.

The startup is aiming to bring the gig economy to the restaurant world by integrating a remote employee ordering system into restaurants’ existing systems but that allow virtual staff – which the company calls Ninjas – to log in from anywhere to take customer orders. According to Bite Ninja, its virtual service workers are able to take orders online, phone calls, drive-thrus, and curbside check-ins. Eventually, the company said it is looking to integrate its technology at national food chains.

Bite Ninja integrates virtually, disrupts traditional QSR staffing
Image via Heidi Kaden on Unsplash

"Through our software, recruiting, and training, we can provide restaurants with a huge increase in upsells, near zero defect order-taking, and 100% staff reliability. Add in a new, safer working environment and you have the ingredients for a positive impact,” Orin Wilson told the industry publication QSR Magazine.

Following the initial onset of the pandemic, there has been a continual labor shortage in the hospitality industry that has made it difficult for restaurants to keep their doors open and serve customers. Bite Ninja is looking to help alleviate that strain by providing a socially distanced, flexible solution to restaurant owners. Not only does its system allow for workers to log in from their homes for only the hours that they wish to work, but it is remote, which is a criterion for employment that has grown in popularity over the last year. Prior to the pandemic, one in five Americans regularly worked from home, but today that figure is 71% of workers, according to data from Pew Research.

While remote working is becoming the norm, it has not yet become the case for those serving customers in food and beverage. In order to personalize the remote experience to replicate in-person standards, Bite Ninja created a system that has an interactive display. On this display, the person taking a customer’s order appears against a background of the restaurant’s choosing in a manner that nearly duplicates the face-to-face interaction that most are accustomed to.

While still a nascent technology, the system has been tested at the founders’ own Tennessee-based restaurant chain, Baby Jack’s. There have also been three pilot programs run to test the system across a variety of environments, and the company says it is working to set up pilots at several thousand locations across the country.

In addition to providing access to a staff that can log on and assist during busy rushes at restaurants, Bite Ninja is also responsible for training the staff that it offers restaurant chains. Already, Bite Ninja boasts a workforce of 3,000 Ninjas.

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